A fascinating glimpse at how editorials in leading newspapers see what they (and their readers) want to see is offered here in a look at the reaction of five leading US newspapers to the IPCC’s latest report on climate change. The massive IPCC report maps the almost total consensus of climate scientists about climate disruption on Spaceship Earth arising from human activity, and emphasises the need to ‘adapt and mitigate’ given that emerging changes appear inevitable. But still, the editorial in the Wall Street Journal editorial manages to conclude: “The best environmental policy is economic growth. The richer you are, the more insurance you have, and wealth pays for prudent environmental regulations”. Of course, the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media (here) is, by exposing editorial bias, open to accusations of bias! But the short article would be an instructive exercise for older students on bias detection of mainstream press coverage of an extremely important issue for our planet and one of its most crucial life support systems.
George Monbiot, the formidable campaigner against the corporate invasion of political life that is perhaps behind the Wall Street Journal’s biases, offers a much more extensive critique (here) of how corporate interests permeate much of public life and even institutions purporting to promote a sustainable future for our planet. even his own liberal Guardian newspaper!
Think tanks are a major source of news used by journalists. Jeremy Williams comments in this blog on their lack of transparency and offers links to sites that evaluate how open they are in revealing the interests that fund them.